USGS releases US oil, gas reserves growth estimates

Potential undiscovered US reserves additions total 32 billion bbl of crude oil, 291 tcf of natural gas, and 10 billion bbl of natural gas liquids, the US Geological Survey said in a new estimate of technically recoverable domestic oil and gas. The amounts represent about 10% of the overall US oil and gas endowment, and do not include reserve growth estimates for federal offshore areas, it said.

“No attempt was made to estimate economically recoverable resources,” it noted. “Continuous, or unconventional, oil and gas accumulations such as shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and tar sands were not included in this study.”

Unlike past reserve growth estimates which relied entirely on statistical extrapolations of growth trends, this one is partly based on detailed analysis of geology and engineering practices used in the assessed producing accumulations, the report said. The assessment used published and commercial, proprietary geologic information and field production data, it added.

“By providing geologically based, domestically consistent estimates of the potential additions of oil and gas from the growth in reserves in known fields, and placing that information in the public domain, we are furnishing a valuable projection on how much and where fossil fuels may be produced in the future,” said USGS Director Marcia K. McNutt.

“When combined with our estimates of undiscovered resources, policymakers can obtain a more complete picture of domestic, technically recoverable oil and gas,” she maintained.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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